Low emission version of the Chevrolet Volt arrives in California this week

Article by Anita Panait, on February 24, 2012

General Motors has commenced rolling out the first of its special version Chevrolet Volts to the state of California this week.  General Motors was forced to create a special version of the range-extended sedan since previously, the Volt uses a four-cylinder engine when the battery runs out, rendering it unqualified for any of California's vehicle incentives.

Now, the Volt has a legal California version that features a special Low Emission package that allows the car to release less pollutants even when running on gasoline.  The Volt special version could now cruise through California’s carpool lanes and at the same time, it qualifies for the state's $1,500 rebate through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. 

According to the company, California commuters using the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, which cover more than 1,400 miles in the Golden State, save an estimated 36 minutes per day in traffic.

Volt’s rival, the Nissan Leaf, is already allowed to cruise the HOV lanes in California. In 2011, General Motors sold 7,671 Volts in the United States, losing by two thousand units to Nissan, which was able to sell 9,674 Leafs. Around 30% of Volts sold were delivered in California while over 60% of Leafs sold went to the state.  Volt owners could now get one of the 40,000 Clean Air stickers that the California Department of Motor Vehicles is making for registered vehicles that meet state emissions standards.

"The Volts with the Low Emissions Package are certain to be a strong draw for California commuters looking to travel the state’s notoriously congested freeways in the carpool lane,” said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. Commuters who use carpool lanes in Southern California save an estimated average 36 minutes a day, or about a third of their total driving time.

Press Release

2012 Chevrolet Volt Cleared for California's Carpool Lanes

A low emission model of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt electric car are on their way to California, where customers will qualify for a $1,500 state rebate and be allowed to drive solo in the state’s carpool lanes.

Volts with the Low Emissions Package, which is standard for California, began shipping from the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck plant this week and should begin arriving at the more than 140 participating Chevrolet dealerships in California before the end of the month.

Commuters who use carpool lanes in Southern California save an estimated average 36 minutes a day, or about a third of their total driving time.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is making 40,000 Clean Air Stickers available for registered vehicles that meet the state’s emissions standards. Applications can be downloaded from the DMV’s web site at www.dmv.ca.gov

Additionally, the new Low Emissions Package makes the 2012 Volt eligible for owners and lessees to receive up to $1,500 in state rebates through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. This incentive is in addition to a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 Clean vehicle rebate applications can be submitted online at www.energycenter.org

California has more than 1,400 miles of High Occupancy Vehicle lanes. Originally restricted to vehicles with two or more occupants to help minimize congestion, the lanes are now open to single occupancy use by owners of advanced, low-emission vehicles. Volts registered in Georgia, New York and Florida also are eligible for single occupancy access to carpool lanes.

The Volt has a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas-and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank. Volt owners have travelled more than 10 million miles since the vehicle launched late last year. Roughly two-thirds of those miles were powered by grid electricity.

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